Man arrested after weapons found in hotel room overlooking Chicago July 4 festivities

CHICAGO, Illinois -- An Iowa man has been charged after Chicago police said he had a rifle inside a hotel room along the lakefront on the Fourth of July.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said a member of the cleaning staff at the W Hotel "likely prevented a tragedy from happening" when he alerted authorities about firearms he found in a hotel room.

Police said the man was taken into custody without incident and a rifle and an additional gun were recovered from the scene in the 600 block of North Lake Shore Drive.

Keegan Casteel, 32, of Ankeny, Iowa, has been charged with two felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, police said. Casteel owns an auto repair shop in Des Moines.

Police said Casteel does not have a criminal history. They also said he did not have a Firearms Owner Identification Card in Illinois.

Superintendent Brown said they found the rifle lying on the windowsill on that busy holiday weekend night.

"We are also conducting gun tracing of both rifle and the handgun for further investigation. There is no previous criminal history of this person nor any other issues in our federal databases," Brown said. "Obviously, very concerning given to the position of the W Hotel to Navy Pier."

Casteel is being held on a $10,000 bond after briefly appearing in front of Cook County Judge David Navarro in bond court Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors revealed that Casteel's room at the W Hotel was on the 12th floor facing Ohio Street Beach. Prosecutors said Casteel's semi-automatic rifle had four magazines next to it and a live round in the chamber.

As part of the conditions of his bond, Casteel will be allowed to return to Iowa if he's released. While prosecutors said Casteel has an Iowa gun permit, Judge Navarro told him "clearly, we are not in Iowa" and noted that the weapons found in the hotel room are in police custody.

The setup echoed the 2017 Las Vegas massacre when a shooter opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel onto the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 60 and wounding hundreds more.

In a statement, the W Hotel said, "As this is a matter under police investigation, we would respectfully redirect all media inquiries to the Chicago Police Department."
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